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Why CPAs earn more

Understand why CPA salaries are typically high

It’s not just accountants that will be in demand in the years ahead. Specifically, it’s CPAs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of accountants and auditors will be strong over the next several years. Meanwhile, “accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition through certification or other designation, especially a CPA, should have the best job prospects,” the Bureau says.

According to Susan Afan, District President at Robert Half International, the CPA is now a “key common criterion” as far as searches for senior level accounting positions go. “Professionals who possess the CPA always give themselves the edge,” she says.

Some professionals in the field believe the CPA license should be a bare minimum for anyone practicing accounting. It is not—yet—but it will put you in greater demand throughout your career.

CPA vs. Accountant: What’s the difference?

CPAs come with a virtual guarantee

CPAs are licensed by the state. This means they have undergone a rigorous qualification process known as the 4 Es:

1. Education
2. Examination
3. Ethics
4. Experience

The licensing process assures clients that you have been there, done that and will do things right. And that is priceless to potential clients and employers.

CPAs can do more

Thanks to the intense training, there are some things CPAs can do that accountants can’t. Only CPAs have the authority to audit a company’s books and sign off on the validity of any of their financial information. Non-licensed accountants can’t do these things—they can only prepare compiled statements, which for many clients won’t cut it.

CPAs can charge more

CPAs charge more for their services and earn up to 15% higher salaries because they’re bound to high standards of work, ethics and professionalism. They have to be, because the State Boards of Accountancy may review their work and can revoke their license if necessary.

Of course, you can be non-licensed and still have a productive and successful career. But if you’re worried about the current job market or want to maximize your salary, consider the CPA license a surefire way to send your resume to the top of the pile.

Just how strong will the future be for CPAs? Check out the forecast.


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